We all agree that sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are still hanging around in the world, and, as much as we would like to believe that we will live forever, we would also like to believe that we will never personally contract an STD.AMATEUR ANGLE
We all agree that sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are still hanging around in the world, and, as much as we would like to believe that we will live forever, we would also like to believe that we will never personally contract an STD. There is a myth amongst amateurs that we are not in the same category as porn stars, and that we must be somehow secretly immunized from all forms of STDs. It is a scary topic to discuss and it is rarely discussed at amateur parties, at least at the parties and gatherings I have been to. But we are certainly in the same category as those porn stars. Actually I put them way ahead of us when it comes to STDs and testing.
Most amateurs have sexual contact with multiple partners, many times unprotected. It’s not that we, as amateurs on the web, are not educated about the subject of STDs. Quite the contrary, we are very educated about STDs. So why is it that we still find it uncomfortable to talk about STDs with each other and why is it that we still do not require proof of recent testing as standard protocol at amateur photo shoots?
Anyone in the amateur community knows that it is a relatively small community of webmasters and web girls, so I don’t believe it would be difficult to get the word out. Just as we have adopted the practice of swapping identification, we must also exchange proof of recent STD testing. To their credit, many amateur web girls do get tested regularly. To them I say, keep up the good work, and make sure that you share your good example with other amateurs.
PCR/DNA testing is readily available and in many instances can be had for little or no cost. The Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs is near my home and only asks for a ten dollar donation to get tested. There are AIDS awareness and testing facilities, like the one near my home, in most major cities across the entire country. Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Health Care Foundation located in California even offers testing by mail and supports over 40 affiliates nationwide that will draw and mail-in your blood sample. You can usually get your results within 48 hours after your sample has been received. There is no excuse for amateurs not to get tested and I hope that amateurs will take it upon themselves to exchange test results prior to any sexual contact.
Amateurs must not only consider testing for AIDS but also for more common STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. According to Sharon Mitchell of AIM, chlamydia is the number one STD going around the adult community these days and although we are not necessarily part of the “porn” community, we do form our own community and STDs can very quickly spread within that community. Let’s take a look at information about just one STD and perhaps it will encourage you to be more proactive about getting tested and exchange test results at your next photo shoot.
What is chlamydia? Chlamydia is a sexually-transmitted disease that can be caught quite easily through intercourse and sharing sex toys. Chlamydia is the number one bacterial STD in the United States today. Four million new cases of chlamydia occur each year. Simply touching your hand on your partner’s genital area and then directly touching your own genital area may even transmit it. Chlamydia is curable, but it can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, sterility, and congenital difficulties if you become pregnant. Chlamydia is known as the “silent epidemic” because three quarters of the women and half of the men with the disease have no symptoms. Possible symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina and a burning sensation when urinating. Additional symptoms for women include lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse and bleeding between menstrual periods. Men may experience burning and itching around the opening of the penis and/or pain and swelling in the testicles. A standard PCR urine test can detect the disease rather quickly. Women and men can and should take this test.
There are other STDs to consider as well: genital warts and genital herpes, syphilis, viral hepatitis, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, cytomegalovirus infections, scabies, and pubic lice. Far too many to touch on in this article, but, you get the picture. Contracting any one of these in your lifetime is a fate I hope none of us ever fall prey to. By making STD testing an “unwritten” rule within our amateur community, we take a step in the right direction.
Here are more important facts about STDs that amateurs may find interesting:
· Throughout the world, an estimated 333 million new cases of curable sexually-transmitted diseases occur each year among adults.
· The United States (US) has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world. The rates of STDs are 50-100 times higher in the US than in other industrial nations.
· Experts estimate that as many as 24 million Americans are infected with Human papillomavirus (genital warts).
· Approximately 400,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year in this country.
· STDs can result in irreparable lifetime damage, including blindness, bone deformities, mental retardation, and death for infants infected by their mothers during gestation or birth.
· Of approximately 200,000 new hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in the U.S. each year, approximately half are transmitted through sexual intercourse.
· STDs in pregnant women are associated with a number of adverse outcomes, including spontaneous abortion and infection in the newborn.
· STDs disproportionately affect women, infants, young people, and minorities. In women, STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies, and cancer of the reproductive tract.
Though women in our industry plainly carry the greater risk, men can greatly reduce their risk of contracting an STD by wearing condoms. Women only have test results and trust to rely on. It is unfortunate that the only true prevention for STDs is abstinence, and we all know that that isn’t going to happen. Hats off to those who are already proactive about STDs and testing. To the rest of the amateurs out there, get informed, get tested, start a dialogue with other amateurs and start to ask for test results with your amateur partners. As much as we do not like to admit or face up to the fact, amateurs are in a high-risk group for contracting STDs. We have sexual contact with multiple partners and unless we make testing standard protocol, it is only a matter of time before an STD starts going around the amateur community — if it hasn’t already happened.
ChefJeff is the editor of The Amateur Voice.